The church must get serious about training the next generation—our five year-old sons and daughters—to suffer for the faith. Gone are going to be the days when Christian parents can cover their worldly ambitions for their children with a thin veneer of Christian conservatism and go happily on their way. The new pagan orthodoxy won’t allow such softness. For many parents this will be to die the worst kind of death. Their sons and (especially) daughters won’t be permitted to matriculate at an Ivy League college. They won’t be able to become Christian-ish investment bankers and Christian-ish lawyers and Christian-ish professors and Christian-ish Senators.
And the wheat will begin to be separated from the chaff…
Some parents will never, ever sacrifice their worldly ambitions. They will tear off the Christian veneer and bow their knees to the goddess Success. Off their children will go to the private school to be taught by famous, nuanced, sophisticated, published, honored, tenured, successful haters of God and His Word.
Others, I pray, will begin to see that the Holy Spirit was not using hyperbole when He said, “…whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Right now, we in the church do not believe James 4:4…or Matt. 6:24…or 1 John 2:15…or 2 Tim. 3:12…or Matthew 16:24-26…
As paganism takes ground in the culture war, persecution against Christians will become steady and fierce. When those days come, if the church has not taught her children that she has real enemies those children not only will not “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3), they will join ranks with the enemy. Will we finally understand the faithless compromise we have had to make with the world in order to fulfill our our evangelical heart-cry, “We must build bridges!” When our children are forced to do obesience to the idols we did our best to build bridges thereunto, and while standing before that powerful idol we see that they are deaf, dumb, and blind to the life and death distinctions between it and the God Whose throne is in heaven, will we then wake up to our neglect?
Are your children being prepared to face these idols with Sword in hand or are you paying tuition to that idol, thinking that some hipster-Christian-college-ministry-church-substitute will “keep them from abandoning the faith.” How hopeless we are if our goal for our children is that they might not “abandon the faith.” We are not discerning the times, if that is our highest hope.
We need to get to the work of raising Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-negos, who will not bow the knee to any idol whether or not God rescues them from the flames (Dan. 3:13-18). And that is going to begin with the repentance of parents who want their children above all to be successful, rather than faithful. It could be that the coming generation will find it is impossible both to be successful and to be a Christian. And either they will become world-worthy or, by God’s mercy, grace, and goodness, they will become those “of whom the world was not worthy” (Heb. 11:38).